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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Fed's Fisher: QE2 "debate still to take place"

by Calculated Risk on 10/07/2010 01:33:00 PM

From Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher: To Ease or Not to Ease? What Next for the Fed?

I am afraid that despite recent speculation in the press and among market pundits, we did little at that meeting to settle the debate as to whether the Committee might actually engage in further monetary accommodation, or what has become known in the parlance of Wall Street as “QE2,” a second round of quantitative easing. It would be marked by an expansion of our balance sheet beyond its current footings of $2.3 trillion through the purchase of additional Treasuries or other securities. To be sure, some in the marketplace―including those with the most to gain financially―read the tea leaves of the statement as indicating a bias toward further asset purchases, executed either in small increments or in a “shock-and-awe” format entailing large buy-ins, leaving open only the question of when.

Since the FOMC meeting, a handful of my colleagues have fanned further speculation about QE2 by signaling their personal positions on the matter quite openly in recent speeches and interviews in the major newspapers. Hence the headline in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “Central Banks Open Spigot,” a declaration that surely gave the ghosts of central bankers past the shivers and sent a tingle down the spine of gold bugs from Bemidji to Beijing.
There is a great deal of legitimate debate still to take place within the FOMC on the subject of quantitative easing and the pros and cons and costs and benefits of further monetary accommodation. Whatever we might do, if anything, must be consistent with long-term price stability and not add to the nightmare of confusing signals already being sent to job creators.

What will we likely decide at the next FOMC meeting? ... “You’ll find out soon enough.”
Fisher suggests the debate on QE2 isn't over (he opposes QE2). However he is not a voting member of the FOMC this year (an alternate). He is always fun to read - but barring some upside surprise, I think QE2 will be announced on November 3rd.